Crack in island cabinet

Discussion in 'Remodel Forum & Blog' started by heidismom, Mar 1, 2007.

  1. heidismom

    heidismom New Member

    Messages:
    5
    I had custom maple cabinets installed in my kitchen about 18 months ago, including an island that is 60" x 24". An electrical outlet was installed on the narrow side of the island near the top. I recently noticed a vertical crack extending through the island emanating from directly underneath one of the screws that holds the outlet cover to the bottom of the island. There is also a crack going from just above the other screw to the top of the island. The outlet cover was not screwed in excessively tightly (I loosened them slightly after noticing the cracks, and the cover is now about to fall off), and something blue (a buffer?) was installed between the cabinet and the outlet cover.
    Anyone have an idea of why this happened and/or how to fix it and/or how to prevent it from occurring if it is fixed? Thanks
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2007
  2. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    Sounds like a glued seam may have let go. Call the cabinit Mfgr. and they should send someone out.

    Was the outlet install after the cabinits were delivered?

    If so they may blame the installer but I would think a properly made cabinit would not do this just because an outlet hole was added.
  3. Refinisher

    Refinisher New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Man dont place blame just repair it. I would start with the manufacturer but more than likley the manufacturer did not install them. Next to go the installer and ask them to come and look at it, normally this will take a couple days but they will look at it and they are experienced to fix this problem. When they are out there offer him $20 to fix it, if he does then it is fixed. Keep in mind that this can happen again, the reason it is happening is because of the installation of the outlet on a thin piece of board and plugging in and out or even just leaning on it will cause this problem. When the board was solid it was strong but by cutting into it you cause it to weaken.

    If you want to try to fix it here is my suggestion. From the inside of the cabinet sand the entire area where the crack is and clean it using denatured alchol and let dry (about 2 minutes tops) with a small brush apply a coat of wood glue over then entire sanded area and let dry 1 hour. Take drywall mesh take and apply it over the glued area, the drywall tape has an adheasive on the back whcih will connect to the wood glue and form a great bond. Next press that into place using a drywall knife and then apply with a brush a coat of wood glue over that and allow to dry, tack sand it and apply another coat, do this 2 more times and that will 100% repair it from going any farther.

    Good luck!
  4. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    If that is the case a knowledgeable installer should have reinforced it to prevent it from happening.
  5. Refinisher

    Refinisher New Member

    Messages:
    20
    EXACTLY! The problem with that is 2 things, 1st you really have no idea what has happened since the install 18 months ago. 2nd It has already happened and you know what they say about spillled milk.............

    IMO, dont get upset about the little things, just find ways to keep from it getting any worse. Warrantys even by an experienced workman end after a year unless they have in writting it is for a longer period of time. You really cannot expect a pro to come back 18 month after the install to repair something that he/she may not have done.:rolleyes:
  6. heidismom

    heidismom New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Thanks for the tips. Not sure why you had the impression that I was trying to place blame. The purpose of my question is to understand what went wrong so that the repair really fixes the problem instead of making it look good until it cracks again (if there's a way to do that).

    Also, to clarify, there is no "manufacturer" involved. The prime contractor was also the cabinet maker/cabinet installer, and the electrician who installed the outlet after the cabinet was in place in my kitchen was a subcontractor
    to the cabinet maker/prime.

    When I asked this question I didn't have any idea as to whether the wood was too thin to install an outlet into or whether an outlet just shouldn't be installed into wood without some special reinforcements that perhaps weren't provided.

    Additional clarification--it was not a seam that opened up. The long vertical crack is not a clean straight line; although it is fairly close to a straight line, there are waves in it. There isn't a seam in the cabinet at the place the crack is located--the crack is entirely within one board. :)
  7. Phil H2

    Phil H2 New Member

    Messages:
    125
    Location:
    Tujunga, CA
    Have you tried asking the cabinet maker for his advice? I am at a loss to comment otherwise because receptacle covers are usually attached to the receptacle. The receptacle is then attached to an electrical box. And, there are many ways that boxes are secured. Have you removed the cover and see the screws going directly into the cabinet?
  8. heidismom

    heidismom New Member

    Messages:
    5
    I put an important question into the bottom of this reply almost a week ago, but haven't received a response or a comment. I'm new to blogs, and I see that some threads have different symbols on the
    higher level page, so perhaps I did not attach the correct symbol which would motivate a reply. At any
    rate, I do want to understand whether only screwing in the 2 opposing corners makes any difference, so that if it does we screw in all 4 (if that makes it better). Also it might be significant to know that the
    receptacle box was installed in a "landscape" (i.e., long way parallel to the floor), rather than a "portrait" position.

    Now that you mentioned it, I had not fully removed the switchplate cover. So I did. What I found was that the "blue" thing underneath was actually the receptacle box, and while there were holes for screws at each corner, the box is only held in by two screws--and each of the two cracks emanates exactly from the screw in the receptacle box. One screw is at the upper right corner, hence the small crack between the top of the outlet and the top of the cabinet, and the other screw is at the lower left corner, causing the long crack. The screws both look like they're in very tight.

    Do you normally install with just the two opposing corners screwed down, or with all four? Does it make a difference one way or the other?
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2007
  9. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,736
    Location:
    Central Florida
    I posted this in the Electrical Forum, but it clearly belongs here:

    Sounds like he might have used self-tapping screws (maybe even drywall screws) rather than drilling correctly-sized pilot holes -- especially important in hard, dry wood, where you're also driving the screw along the grain. You might be able to repair things by expanding the crack, injecting glue into it, then clamping it shut for the glue to set. Then mount the outlet properly. I probably would've glued mounting strips to the back of the cabinet and mounted the outlet box on them, rather than to the face of the cabinet proper, but I usually overengineer even the simplest of projects.

    4 screws would've been worse, I think -- then you'd have 4 cracks. He might have been better off driving the screws across the grain, horizontally, rather than vertically, which I've assumed.
  10. the_slowpoke

    the_slowpoke New Member

    Messages:
    7
    Hi...One possible cause

    I was trying to imagine what your problem was and I think I had a similar problem happen with a cabinet that I had made for me. About 18 months after the cabinet was installed, we heard this noise in the kitchen and when we went to find out what was wrong, we discovered that the countertop and backsplash was split in the direction of the grain of the wood. It turned out that the guy who built the cabinet glued everything together including the supports underneith the cabinet that ran across the grain of the counter top. When the counter top contracted in the summer, it couldn't move due to the glue, so it split instead along the line of least resistance. I never could figure out how to repair it and had to replace it instead. This might not be the source of your problem, but it's something to consider. Good Luck!
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